London Prestige caught up with the talented actress, writer and martial artist Leslie Kunz, based in London. Leslie shares with us her passions, growing up, and her current projects, including her role in the popular TV Series “Into The Badlands”, directed by the Paco Cabezas.
London Prestige: Tell us a little about yourself, growing up and your passions.
Leslie Kunz: I grew up in Switzerland in a Children’s Home, an institution similar to an orphanage from age 5 till I was an adult. It has been pretty tough, but I’ve still been fortunate enough to be exposed to arts and sports. I picked up Wushu, a Chinese martial arts from a young age. I was so passionate about it that I ended up training everyday, making it into the Swiss Team and competing at elite level both nationally and internationally. I still love to train and try to stay as much in shape as possible throughout my busy schedule!
London Prestige: What are you currently working on?
Leslie Kunz: I was just working on the US martial arts TV Show Into The Badlands, that just started airing season 3 this week. So far my character had an appearance in the first episode of season 3.
London Prestige: What made you take this role?
Leslie Kunz: It has been a dream of mine to work on Into The Badlands. I love the martial arts aspect of the show and plus it’s being filmed in Ireland. I used to live in Ireland for a year and I’m still very connected to Ireland socially and professionally. So anything filming in Ireland is an absolute plus as I feel home there. I actually auditioned for Badlands for 3 other roles for season 2. This was my 4th audition. When I got offered the role I was super excited to finally get on board with the show.
London Prestige: What journey does your character go on in the course of the monologues?
Leslie Kunz: Coral, the character I’m playing, is a young peasant girl, married, with kids and she receives Sunny, the lead character and his baby boy Henry, after they have been in hiding for 6 months. Now the baby got sick and I’m trying to help the baby, despite my husband being hostile towards our visitors. Unfortunately, I’m left with hopelessness and disappointment, as I’m not able to help the baby.
London Prestige: Tell us a little bit more about this film, what is it about, who else are you working with, and who is the director?
Leslie Kunz: Into the Badlands is a genre-bending martial arts series very loosely based on the classic Chinese tale ‘Journey to the West’. In a land controlled by feudal barons, Into the Badlands tells the story of a great warrior and a young boy who embark on a journey across a dangerous land to find enlightenment.
Daniel Wu (Tome Raider) is playing the lead character Sunny. The director was Paco Cabezas whose credits include TV shows such as The Alienist, Fear The Walking Dead, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and Penny Dreadful.
London Prestige: What is the most challenging role you have played and why?
Leslie Kunz: I think the most challenging roles to date come from stage productions. Probably a Shakespeare Production I did back in the States, “Much Ado About Nothing”. I played the female version of Don Pedro – Donna Pedra! The language, the physicality and the limited amount of time we had to rehearse, was the absolute hardest challenge I’ve experienced so far in acting. Especially considering where I was at in my process. I’m sure today it would all be much easier and smoother for me.
London Prestige: And the most fun one?
Leslie Kunz: I think my favorite role was a baddie I played in a Kung Fu Short called Tiger Claw earlier this year! Just the whole aspect of a Hong Kong Style, proper Kung Fu film was so exciting to work on. Even though it was freezing on the set I was so happy to do those fight scenes. It was like living in your childhood dream. It was truly magical for me.
London Prestige: Describe your biggest accomplishment to date?
Leslie Kunz: As far as acting I would say Into The Badlands. In general I would say Bronze at Wushu European Championship and 5th Place at Wushu World Championship.
London Prestige: What training / education do you have? How has your training prepared you for you acting career?
Leslie Kunz: I trained 4 years at AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Los Angeles for my BFA in Musical Theatre. It was a very intensive and practical training. I was trained in all difference disciplines and aspects of the performing arts industry including, business and writing. It was very practical hands on and practical preparation for the real world once you graduate. So I feel like I was well prepared. However, after graduation I needed a couple of years to digest it all and apply what I’ve learned. I needed time to grow as a human.
London Prestige: Is there any academy or professional in the field that you enjoyed working with that you would like to recommend in your city?
Leslie Kunz: I’m currently based in London and highly recommend AMAW (Anthony Meindle Actor’s Workshop), who also has studios in Los Angeles, NY, Atlanta, Vancouver, Toronto, Sidney and in Denmark.
London Prestige: Who is your favorite director to work with and why?
Leslie Kunz: I have to say Paco Cabezas. Working with a well known and talented director such as Paco was incredible! He was very encouraging, empowering and he has a very sensitive approach in working with actors and giving them directions. He also is very collaborative. A very respectful down to earth guy, who made me feel welcome on set.
London Prestige: Have you ever considered branching out into directing or screenwriting?
Leslie Kunz: Definitely! I’ve actually written a full-length script a couple of years back and I just started working on another script! Hopefully, I can find a way to turn it into an amazing production in due time.
London Prestige: Where have you played a lead role? What was the character about?
Leslie Kunz: I played the lead in a film called Lost Angels. Celest, is a talented singer/songwriter in LA. Trying to succeed despite her difficult past and helping people she meets on the journey! – Basically, my own story minus the helping people part. Lol! JK – It was loosely based or inspired by my own journey.
London Prestige: Do you have any theatrical experience? What plays have you performed?
Leslie Kunz: I played in Musicals such as Carrie the Musical, Pippin, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Forum, The Voice Musical. Notable plays would be Truffaldion in Servants of Two Masters, Donna Pedra in Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet in original adaption Yorrik Delux Model.
London Prestige: If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?
Leslie Kunz: Music! But I already do music! I’ve been doing music all my life and hope to find my way with music in the industry and get more established.
London Prestige: What have you seen lately that’s inspired you?
Leslie Kunz: Suits! – Maybe one day after a successful acting career I can become a real princess too – like Meghan Merkle. (JK).
London Prestige: What television shows or show would you love most to be on?
Leslie Kunz: Apart from Badlands, GOT, Vikings, Krypton and upcoming show which none of us have seen yet Nightflyers. Basically everything filming in Ireland right now, and I would be perfect for. Oh, and Marvel’s Iron Fist, but only if I can replace the leading male and play Iron Fist myself! (JK)
London Prestige: What’s your goal for this year?
Leslie Kunz: Hopefully, I get to grow and work on bigger projects in film and TV this year. I also have some creative projects I’m continuing working on and then I would like to get an amazing L.A. based manager.
London Prestige: What is your advice for aspiring actors?
Leslie Kunz: Never give up! Keep learning! Keep growing! Keep moving! Live life! Pursue relationships personally and professionally!
London Prestige: Do you have a website, agency that represents you, social media, etc?
YouTube: Leslie Kunz
Talent Agency: https://www.reflectionstalentagency.co.uk/